Virtual Private Networks
Instead of simply dealing with local or regional concerns,
many businesses now have to think about global markets and
logistics. Many companies have facilities spread out across
the country or around the world, and there is one thing that
all of them need: A way to maintain fast, secure and reliable
communications wherever their offices are.
Traditionally, this has meant the use of leased lines to
maintain a wide area network (WAN). A WAN
(see sidebar) has obvious advantages over a public network
like the Internet when it came to reliability, performance
and security. But WANs are expensive. The cost rises as the
distance between offices increases.
As the popularity of the Internet grew, businesses turned
(sidebar) . Now, many companies are creating their own VPN
(virtual private network) to their networks to remote employees
and distant offices.
Basically, a VPN is a private network that uses a public
network such as the Internet to connect remote sites or users
together. Instead of using a leased line, a VPN uses "virtual"
connections routed through the Internet from the company's
private network to the remote site or employee.
A well-designed VPN can:
- Improve security
- Reduce operational costs versus traditional WAN
- Reduce transit time and transportation costs for remote
- Improve productivity
- Provide global networking opportunities
- Provide telecommuter support
- Provide broadband networking compatibility
- Provide faster ROI (return on investment) than traditional
Most VPNs use a process called "tunneling":
Nothing requires either end of the conversation to have a
dedicated VPN server. One of the parties may be a company
employee working from home or a sales representative on the
road working on a laptop in a hotel room.
Wide area networks are an outgrowth of
Local Area Networks (LANs).
If a business has multiple offices located
across town or in different cities or states, it almost
always has to lease high-speed telephone lines from
the local phone company or a long-distance carrier.
WAN's are probably the most secure way
to extend a company's network under these conditions.
However, leased lines are expensive, especially
if the office are located across the country from each
An Intranet is the use of Internet technologies
within an organization (or company) to achieve better
results than the conventional means of data access and
transfer. Intranet helps in cutting costs, easy and
fast accessibility of day to day information.
In other words, it looks like the Internet,
but stays inside the organization. It can provide access
to the Internet, but the Internet can't access the Intranet.